July 19th, 2015
04:25 PM ET

Esai Morales: "...the American people will want to vote for someone that represents them... and I don't think that's Donald Trump."

Today on CNN’s Reliable Sources, HBO’s The Brink actor, Esai Morales, joined host Brian Stelter to discuss his perspective on Donald Trump’s immigration remarks and what he could do to regain Latino support.

Reliable Sources airs Sundays, 11 a.m. to noon (ET).

Video, Text highlights, and a full transcript from the show are available below.

MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s RELIABLE SOURCES”

VIDEO:

Can Donald Trump really win the Hispanic vote?

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS:

Morales’ response to Trump’s immigrant remarks: Listen, I can't speak for all Latinos.  But I know one thing about our communities, and they’re plural, it's respect.  …If you have respect, you're welcome in our homes.  And this man has really mischaracterized the nature of the immigrant community and the incredible contributions they have made and continue to make, just because he's focusing on the criminal element which every community has.

Morales on what Trump could do to regain support from the Latino community: I think it costs nothing to apologize.  To say, you know what, looking back at my words, I see how you can take offense to this.  No, but what he did was double down and include any other number of Latinos.  So, basically, I think if he shows a mea culpa, even if he shows an ounce of sincerity, I think that would go a long way.  But I’m not going to bet on that.

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: You know, Trump's campaign has been characterized by incendiary comments literally from day one.  Some people like Danny called them racist comments.  And, of course, with his infamous quotes about immigration, I want to speak to someone who has very strong feelings about Trump’s word. Earlier, I talk to Esai Morales who plays the president in HBO’s new comedy, The Brink.  He’s also the cofounder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STELTER:  Esai, thanks for being here.

ESAI MORALES, ACTOR/STAR OF HBO’S THE BRINK:  Thank you, Brian.

STELTER:  Do you think you are closer to the Oval Office than Trump will ever be?

(LAUGHTER)

MORALES:  Good question.  You know, part of me does think so, but at times I have to go, man, you know, what is our electorate made up of?  Who is voting out there?  What is the level of sophistication of our average American voter?  And if it's not too high, he might be closer than we’d be comfortable with.

STELTER:  But it sounds like you're insulting a lot of voters when you say that.

MORALES:  You know what?  I - look at these polls.  How can this man rise so far above his competition?  I think that's due to the amount of press he's getting.  This is a tactician.  Obviously, he's playing our community like a violin.  But I think for a man who boasts of how much money he has, it's a real cheap shot at a very vulnerable demographic.  But, you know, they don’t vote, illegal immigrants don't vote.  Ultimately, the American people will want to vote for someone that represents them and the best of them - and I don't think that's Donald Trump.

STELTER:  You mentioned the media.  And I mentioned Arianna Huffington earlier.  She said to me this week, "We think Trump is partly the media's creation."  Of course, that implies the media can also remove him if they’ve made what he is, and they can also make him less.  Do you think we're at the point where the press should not be paying at much attention to him?

MORALES:  Well, the press does what the press needs to do for its own survival.  I mean, I think that's what, you know, we're all about.  We're all about survival.  He's trying to survive.  Here is a fact: they're going to give him as much press - as long as he stays relevant, as long as we keep talking about it.  And we are talking about it because what he did was disrespect our community.  Listen, I can't speak for all Latinos.  But I know one thing about our communities, and they’re plural, it's respect.  You may not have a lot.  If you have respect, you're welcome in our homes.  And this man has really mischaracterized the nature of the immigrant community and the incredible contributions they have made and continue to make, just because he's focusing on the criminal element which every community has.

STELTER:  Is there anything you think Trump can do to regain support, to improve his numbers within the Hispanic community?

MORALES:  I think it costs nothing to apologize.  To say, you know what, looking back at my words, I see how you can take offense to this.  No, but what he did was double down and include any other number of Latinos.  So, basically, I think if he shows a mea culpa, even if he shows an ounce of sincerity, I think that would go a long way.  But I’m not going to bet on that.

STELTER:  Esai, thanks for being here this morning.  Appreciate it.

MORALES:  Thank you.

END INTERVIEW

 


Topics: Brian Stelter • CNN • Reliable Sources
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